Slovakia, Hungary do not support EU sanctions on Russia’s energy

North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimital Kobachevsky (second from right), Serbian President Alexander Vucci (third from right), Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov (fourth from right), Kiriakos Mitsutakis (center), European Council President Charles Michel (fourth from left) poses with other officials for a ceremony at the Port of Alexandre Loupoli on May 3, 2022. European Union leader Charles Michel will take a tour of a liquefied natural gas facility being built in northern Bulgaria to challenge Russia’s energy domination in the region. [Dimitris Papamitsos/Prime Minister’s Office via AP]

Slovakia and Hungary said Tuesday that they did not support sanctions on Russia’s energy prepared by the European Union in the war in Ukraine, and said they were too dependent on their supply and had no immediate alternative.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has drafted a new proposal for sanctions. This could include a gradual embargo on Russian oil. Twenty-seven member states are likely to discuss them on Wednesday, but it may take several days for the measures to take effect.

EU foreign policy director Josep Borrell wants to “work on oil imports” by targeting banks accused of attacking more banks and spreading disinformation about the war. I tweeted that there was. It is not clear whether Slovakia and Hungary will be exempt.

Slovakia’s economic minister, Richard Slick, said Slovakia, the country’s only refiner, could not immediately switch from Russian crude to another type of oil. The technology change will take years, Sulik said.

“So we certainly claim an exemption,” Sulik told reporters.

Slovakia is almost entirely dependent on Russian oil received through the Soviet-era Dorjiba pipeline. Hungary is also highly dependent, but another major energy importer, Germany, said it could be dealt with if the EU banned Russia’s oil, and authorities still said it was “a heavy burden to bear.” rice field.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Sijart said he would not vote for sanctions that “disable the transportation of natural gas and oil from Russia to Hungary.”

“The point is simple: Hungary’s energy supply is not at risk, because no one can expect Hungarians to pay for the war (in Ukraine),” Szijjarto said on Tuesday in Kazakhstan. Told. “Currently, it is physically impossible for Hungary and its economy to function without Russian oil.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has established Putin’s reputation as the EU’s closest ally and pursued deep diplomatic and economic ties with Moscow. Orban is becoming more dependent on Russia’s fossil fuels, noting that 85% of Hungary’s gas and more than 60% of its oil come from Russia.

Despite disagreements among EU member states on new energy sanctions, European Council Chair Charles Michel has said that “destroying Russia’s war machines” by keeping continental countries away from Russia’s natural gas supply. I swore.

The block prioritizes global LNG imports from countries, including major producers such as Algeria, Qatar and the United States, and is competing to secure an alternative supply to Russia’s energy.

This included a liquefied natural gas facility under construction in northern Greece, where leaders from Michelle and the four Balkan countries toured on Tuesday.

“Because our goal is simple, we also sanction the Kremlin to put financial, economic and political pressure on the Kremlin. We must break the Russian war machine. No, “Michel said.

He met Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsutakis and Bulgarian leader, North Macedonia, and non-NATO member Serbia at the port of Alexandroupoli, Greece. The LNG import terminal near the port city is scheduled to start operations next year.

LNG arriving by ship is becoming more and more important as EU countries are moving away from Russia’s supply. Russia cut off natural gas to Bulgaria and Poland last week over a request to guarantee payments in the ruble in an intensifying conflict caused by the invasion of Ukraine.

“This is why this new LNG terminal is so timely and so important. It’s a geopolitical investment, and this is a geopolitical moment,” Michelle said. “This reflects what we need to do further to provide supply security to Greece, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia, and other countries in the region. Is important to. “

The meeting was also attended by Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimital Kobachevsky, and Serbian President Alexander Vucci.

“This is not just an energy project. It will change Europe’s energy map,” Petkov said. “The Balkan Peninsula is a region of 65 million people and we can do more.”

The LNG terminal is designed to process approximately 6 billion cubic meters of gas annually, boosting the non-Russian supply that reached the region in 2020 with a new Trans Adriatic pipeline from Azerbaijan to Italy.

A new interconnect pipeline that fully connects the Greek and Bulgarian gas networks will be available next month. [AP] Slovakia, Hungary do not support EU sanctions on Russia’s energy

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